RALEIGH The Charlotte Christian boys carried the hopes of their senior class and conference - the CISAA - into Thursday's N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A quarterfinal vs. No. 3 Christ School. A two-point halftime deficit kept the Knights optimistic about halting the Greenies' pursuit of a sixth consecutive state championship. That run included three straight season-ending losses for Charlotte Christian at the hands of the Arden-based boarding school.
Charlotte Christian could not withstand an 8-0 Christ School spurt to open the third quarter, along with a 6-0 Greenies run that put the Knights down 15 with eight minutes remaining on the way to a 77-64 decision.
The outcome followed a 81-49 quarterfinal loss by No. 7 Charlotte Latin to the tournament host and second-seeded Raleigh Ravenscroft. No CISAA team will play in the semifinals for the first time since at least the 1980s.
Charlotte Christian (24-8) managed just eight third-quarter points to Christ School's 21. The Greenies' Josh Level netted 13 of his 22 points in the quarter.
"We struggled, even in the first half, to make perimeter shots," Knights coach Shonn Brown said. "Then, in that third quarter, we struggled to be effective with our offense - in transition or in half court.
"We struggled to finish."
The lid that seemed to cover Charlotte Christian's basket perplexed Brown. The coach was more concerned, however, about a factor within his team's control.
"We did a really good job of rebounding in the first half. The second half, it was really tough for us to keep them off the offensive boards," Brown said.
"When you get two or three shots a possession, you've only got to shoot 33 percent."
Patrick Rooks (24 points) was the lone Knights player in double figures. .
Christ School (32-4) got 13 points from Jerome Hariston and 11 apiece from Shannon Hale and Will Weeks.
Charlotte Christian, the state runner-up in 2011 and 2010, converted seven of 15 free throws.
Among girls, top-seeded Providence Day and No. 3 Charlotte Christian - the defending state champion and runner-up, respectively - advanced with ease to today's semifinals. The Chargers stopped CISAA rival Latin 79-38.
The Knights defeated High Point Christian 72-51. Providence Day (27-4) got 18 points from South Carolina-bound Tiffany Mitchell. Dacia Thompson and Jada Brayboy chipped in 16 and 13, respectively.
Garland Austin matched Mitchell's scoring output, along with 10 points from Cydney Pennington for Latin (10-15).
Charlotte Christian (24-6) got 27 points from Catherine Harris, who made 15 of 19 free throws. High Point Christian (19-8) - paced by Hadara Bannister (15 points) and Kathryn Cox (14) - converted 15 free throws as a team.
Rusty Reigel's 12 points led the Latin boys (16-11). Ravenscroft (29-3) got 27 points from Madison Jones and 12 from Anton Gill.